My Think Weekend

I recently returned from 5 days alone at the cabin pictured above, with no cell service and no wifi. The amount of hard work I did was amazing.

This is for anyone who wants to make meaningful progress against stubborn self-held beliefs, unaccomplished goals or scary new projects.

My think weekend was inspired by Anthony Gustin and Bill Gates. Anthony is the CEO of Perfect Keto and Equip Foods (I work for PK) and he recently took 3.5 weeks off in the mountains to recharge, relax and reflect on the last few years of hyper growth. Watching him do this made me think I needed to reflect on 2019, my best year ever.

I also recently watched the Bill Gates documentary on Netflix, where he introduced the idea of a ‘Think Week’. Bill packs a bag of books, travels to a cabin, and spends an entire week reading, writing, drinking tons of Diet Coke and thinking. No technology.

Combining these two, I came up with a Think Weekend – 5 days, 4 nights in a remote cabin with no wifi and no cell service. I brought 12 books, 2 notebooks, lots of fitness equipment, and my computer/phone. Here’s the listing for the cabin I stayed in. It fit perfectly because it was just off the grid. I could drive into town for food, and there was a gym + sauna <10 minutes away.

Why no cell service and no wifi? I call this the In’N’Out Productivity Method. What’s on your activity menu in regular life? I’ll show you mine:

  1. exercise
  2. stretch
  3. meditate
  4. work on day job
  5. work on side hustle
  6. do code school
  7. read non fiction
  8. read fiction
  9. write
  10. record videos
  11. watch netflix
  12. watch amazon prime video
  13. watch youtube
  14. watch sports
  15. listen to podcasts
  16. drink with friends
  17. have dinner with friends
  18. socialize
  19. clean apartment
  20. visit with girlfriend
  21. cook food

Ok, you get the point. Now, let’s look at the activity menu while at the cabin:

  1. exercise
  2. stretch
  3. meditate
  4. read non fiction
  5. read fiction
  6. listen to podcasts
  7. write
  8. record videos
  9. cook food

Just like In’N’Out, I reduced my menu drastically. The first result is boredom. None of them are incredibly exciting at first. I started every day with 1-2-3, in that order. You can only do so much of them per day.

Day 1, I listened to a lot of podcasts and read Jack Ryan fiction, but they slowly got less interesting. I unpacked my books and fitness equipment. Allowed myself to do nothing and ease into it.

Day 2, started journaling and writing in Notes offline mode. Began 2019 Year in Review. I felt the urge to procrastinate but nothing was attractive to procrastinate with – podcasts and fiction used up. Continued to write. Got in bed at 7:45, just to have another chance to get out of the cabin and work out/exercise/mobilize/sauna.

Day 3, magic happened. Stopped thinking about procrastinating because there were no outlets. Focused reflection on 2019, what went well, and what didn’t. Identified behaviors to do more of and less of. Also picked people to invest more in and less in. Started 2020 goals. Finished 4 Hour Work Week and all exercises.

Day 4, painful introspection. Why haven’t I learned to code yet? Why aren’t I running a consumer wellness company yet? Identify blockers. Get urge to run away from them. Nowhere to go. Try the 5 levels of why? Identify self-limiting beliefs. Attack them, sit with them. Breakthroughs! Create 3 versions of morning and evening routines. Committed to them. Read 4 Hour Body. Committed to a nutrition plan.

Day 5, bit stir crazy. Leave cabin 2x to talk to my girlfriend. Start disliking using my phone. Turn off all notifications, only calls will reach me. Arrive at core four 2020 objectives. Identify specific action steps within the four. Identify potential blockers, and list solutions. Make huge follow-up to do list to get started. Drive home.

I got back to my parent’s house in Oregon a new man. I had done painful introspection for 3 days that exceeded the entire year combined. I realized that activity selection is relative. If your menu only includes 5 things, well then reading fiction becomes 10x more attractive. That was my little cheat, going to read Jack Ryan. Unlike TV, it does get old for me. Back to the hard work. Smaller menu will inevitably lead to more of each item.

At first, you might be bored. At first, you might look at this menu and say, I’m not hungry for a burger. But in time, and with space, you will crave something.

In the void, my brain gravitated toward big, scary, important goals.

Create your void – and let me know how it goes.

Thanks for reading,

Will “Team Health” McLellarn

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